Petition Drives Target Marriage Measure Votes; Values Groups Press Ahead in California, Massachusetts

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Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Traditional-values groups in California and Massachusetts are gearing up for petition drives on constitutional amendments on marriage despite squabbles over the wording of the measures.

All of the amendments uphold marriage as the union of one man and one woman and are designed to block courts from finding a right to same-sex "marriage."

However, the measures differ over recognition of homosexual couples.

In California, there are two competing marriage amendments, both of which are striving for 1 million signatures and a place on a 2006 ballot.

ProtectMarriage.com, a coalition of more than a dozen traditional-values groups, began its petition drive Thursday.

Its amendment is fashioned after Proposition 22, California's voter-approved marriage law, and would add the words, "A marriage between a man and a woman is the only legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state," to the state constitution.

If passed, the amendment would prohibit "marriage imitations," including the state's new domestic-partnership law, said Andrew Pugno, a leader of ProtectMarriage.com.

Another amendment is offered by VoteYesMarriage.com, led by Randy Thomasson, founder and executive director of Campaign for Children and Families.

This is a "true blue" amendment that "protects everything about marriage - marriage licenses, marriage rights and marriage under law," say VoteYesMarriage.com supporters, such as Rena Lindevaldsen of Liberty Counsel, a Florida law firm active in homosexual "marriage" battles.

Mr. Thomasson and Mr. Pugno doubt that both their amendments will make it to a 2006 ballot. …